Since my days as a wee geek, I’ve had a fascination with stars. I loved going out stargazing with my dad in the canyon near our house, away from the scant light pollution of Green River, Wyoming. In college, I took an astronomy course–just for the lulz–and while so much of the science went over my head, I never had my fill of learning about the wonders of space.
I run a portable StarLab program at my work every year, and I teach about the constellations. Sometimes, when I get home after dark, I stand outside my car for a moment and crane my neck to catch a few on my own. I decorate with stars, and I accessorize with stars. Not obsessively, you understand. Just… you know… half my jewelry collection, or something like that.
The reason WHY I love stars so much? Well, I’d have to say the answer is three-fold.
First, stars are sparkly. I mean, come on: There are just some ways a girl can’t break past her stereotypes. If it’s shiny, I want it. End of story. And once you add nebulae into the mix–with their swirly combinations of cloudy colors–I’m solid gone. Listen, I have pins on my Pinterest board for galaxy-themed hair. I mean business.
My second reason hearkens back to when I was about 11 years old. Super Mario RPG had just been released for Super Nintendo, and I fell in love with it. The characters, the music, the world, the humor–I remember getting it for Christmas one year and lifting it above my head Lion King-style in pure joy.
For those who don’t know, the story of SMRPG revolves around repairing the Star Road, which has been shattered, resulting in the abolishment of wishes. Mario and crew must travel the land, searching for seven Star Pieces to repair the Road and bring wishes back to the world. The story is simple, but the game’s colorful atmosphere makes for an unforgettable experience and brings back my nostalgia like nothing else can.
One member of Mario’s party is an animate doll named Geno, brought to life by a star spirit. He’s tasked to collect the Star Pieces to repair his home, and he takes his mission seriously. I thought he was so incredibly cool when I was a little girl. He was always chill in a crisis, he had great dialogue, he shot star bullets out of his arms. I have never wanted an action figure to be so real in all my life, and I never took him out of my main party while playing the game. (I still don’t.)
Super Mario RPG gives me serious feels, from beginning to end, and since stars factor so hugely in the story, they remind me of those sweet childhood memories, playing it as I grew up.
But these are superficial reasons to love stars. They put me in my happy place, but on the whole they don’t make the symbol mean anything. I don’t look up at the night sky and think of Mario games or radical hair colors. Something so surface-level would hardly keep my attention that long. No, the wonder goes far beyond that:
When I consider Your heavens,
The work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars,
Which You have set in place,
What is mankind that You are mindful of them?
Human beings that You care for them?
To me, the stars are proof of God’s love. In this Psalm, David marvels that in all the vastness of space there’s a God who would notice and care deeply for the imperfect people that populate this world. Sure, stars serve a scientific purpose in our universe; we even have our own personal one close by to provide warmth and energy. But when your average Joe looks up into the heavens, is his/her immediate thought dedicated to the function of these burning balls of gas?
I’d wager it’s more along the lines of, “Wow, the stars look really neat tonight.” Imagine a God who created beauty just so we could marvel at it. Just so we could be reminded that He is near, He is for our good, and He remembers and loves us. He uses His own wonders to remind us of who He is.
And do you know His greatest demonstration of love? When He was born as a tiny babe in a small Israeli village–come with an ultimate purpose to lead mankind out of sin and entropy. A great star marked his arrival, serving as what has now become a Christmas beacon of hope and glory. This goes past the “shiny” appeal, past the Disney-esque wish-fulfillment of celestial objects. This points to a concrete, true rescue sent by God in ultimate compassion.
Look to the stars this Christmas. They will still point you to the Savior.
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